Back-to-Roots Routes for the Road Warrior
March 30, 2012 | Permalink
Americans have lately been expressing the desire to slow down their fast-paced, stress-filled lives. From the slow-food movement to bike-to-work days, there are all sorts of evidence of our desire to live in a way that is deliberative, salubrious and heartfelt—rather than rushed, superficial and deleterious to our heart health.
Vacations have always been about relaxation, about slowing things down in order to really enjoy life. Now that many Americans are trying to live by the standards expressed by the newly christened slow movement, a more comprehensive offshoot of the slow-food movement, there are many vacation options that are not just about personal pleasure and relaxation but that are also about community building and reflecting on the bigger picture.
Getting Revived at the Folk Revival (and Learning Something, Too)
Taking place from June 27th- July 1st and July 4th-8th, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival (which began in 1967 at the tail end of the 1960’s folk-music revival that gave us Bob Dylan and Joan Baez) is a celebration of traditional, community-based arts and crafts of all sorts, such as music, cooking, dance, woodworking, painting, etc.
International practitioners of deeply-rooted cultural forms and processes give demonstrations on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. All the entertainment and education here is homegrown—which results, of course, in a diverse array of aesthetics, personalities and techniques. Come see demonstrations of everything from New York City graffiti writing (minus the New York Police Department) to the dancing of an Italian tarantella—a dance traditionally believed to be the remedy for a disease caused by the bite of a tarantula. Every festival focuses on a U.S. state, a U.S. region, and on many international cultures.
Last, but not least, the festival is free—your tax dollars at work!
Getting Real by Eating Real Food
The folks behind the Eat Real Festival, which takes place between September 21st-23rd in Oakland, California’s Jack London Square, believe that the food we eat should be (as much as possible) sustainable, community-based fare that has not been altered chemically. Needless to say, you will find no processed food at this homey food-truck festival. That is not to say, though, that this is a health-food festival. You can score plenty of comfort food here—burgers, fries, chocolate, etc.
Also, just because this festival stands in opposition to modern methods of mass-food processing and shipping does not mean that it is a stodgy back-to-basics event. You will find plenty of edgy fusion food at Eat Real. Fittingly for the festival’s California location, Mexican food is combined with just about every other ethnic food: Filipino and Korean tacos and Indian burritos are some of the festival’s most popular items.
While in Jack London Square, make sure to check out London’s Yukon cabin, which was disassembled up north then shipped to Oakland (his hometown) and reassembled in his eponymous square.
Getting a Really Good Night’s Sleep
An important component of community-based culture and cuisine is the way it makes you feel. You can feel the love in it. It emanates love because it has the feeling of home. Even if it doesn’t exactly have the feeling of your home, it still has the feeling of home. When you’re on the road, you want to get this feeling of home from the hotels you stay in. You get this feeling from Extended Stay Hotels, which, like home, have kitchens where you can prepare real food and a living space where you can have real family time with your loved ones.
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